“On the Road to Find Out” Blog Tour – Guest Post Rachel Toor
AS PART OF THE “ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT” BLOG TOUR, AUTHOR RACHEL TOOR STOPPED BY A.T.W.N. TO SHARE INSIGHT INTO THE TITLE OF HER BOOK, AND TO SHARE THE MC ALICE DAVIS’ PLAYLIST. ENJOY!
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN “ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT” & “HAROLD AND MAUDE”…
I first saw Harold and Maude my freshman year at Yale. Afterward a horsey squash-playing senior named Sissy told me it was the most disgusting movie she’d ever seen. I thought, Did we see the same film? It may be the best romantic comedy of all time. Okay, so it’s about the relationship between a teenage boy and a 79-year-old woman, and sure, the kid tries to kill himself about seven thousand times in the first few scenes, but it’s funny and sweet and the music by Cat Stevens makes you smile and want to cry—sometimes at the same time.
The title of my book is also the title of a song from that movie.
ALICE DAVIS’ PLAYLIST
Cat Stevens – On the Road to Find Out Just listen to the song and you’ll see that it’s an anthem of growing up. I choose to ignore the religious overtones and focus on the idea of the search—there’s so much left to know.
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run As a teenager I hated Bruce Springsteen because so many people loved him. As a grownup I’ve learned that sometimes things are popular because they’re just that good.
Dar Williams – Teenagers Kick Our Butts I wrote a novel that offers up lots of advice to teens because I couldn’t help myself. This song does the same thing, and with some of the same messages: Make sure you make lots of mistakes.
B-52s – Roam A great, fun band to run to. A great song to roam to.
Talking Heads – Naïve Melody (This Must Be the Place) This might be my favorite love song ever. Robert Frost wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” and we all know what Dorothy said when she clicked the heels of the ruby slippers three times. It’s where I wanna be.
Mary Chapin Carpenter – He Thinks He’ll Keep Her During my first 50-mile race, I started talking with another runner. We ran together for miles and then she dropped me, but we became friends. Turns out Sophie is the sister of one of my favorite singers, another smart strong woman with a voice all her own.
Elvis Costello – (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes Elvis is King. Who writes better, more literate, more clever and witty lyrics? “I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused” is a good mantra for teens. And for me.
Kate Bush – Running Up that Hill “If I only could I’d be running up that road, running up that hill with no problems.” Right on, sister.
Gillian Welch – Look at Miss Ohio I don’t usually like twangy, old-timey music, but I love me some Gillian Welch and the dude who plays with her whose name I can never remember though my friends says he’s a truly great guitar player.
REM – End of the World This song makes you run faster. And feel fine.
Rachel’s ambition, on graduating from Yale University, was to work on a dude ranch in Wyoming (never having been to a dude ranch—or to Wyoming). Moving to Missoula, Montana, for an MFA in creative writing is the closest she’s come. After a dozen years as an editor of scholarly books, at Oxford and Duke University Presses, she slid down the ladder of social mobility and did a stint in college admissions, quitting to write Admissions Confidential: An Insider’s Account of the Elite College Selection Process (St. Martin’s, 2001) in an attempt to demystify an arcane and brutalizing rite of passage. Since then she has published a memoir, The Pig and I (Penguin, 2005; Bison Books, 2009) and Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running (University of Nebraska Press, 2008). Rachel writes a monthly column in The Chronicle of Higher Education and a bi-monthly one in Running Times magazine, where she is a senior writer. Her work has appeared in various and diverse places, including The LA Times, Ploughshares, Glamour, Inside Higher Ed, Reader’s Digest, Runner’s World, Ascent,JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) and variety of other more academically-oriented publications. Her work also appears on the Athleta blog, where she was a sponsored athlete for 2012. Read more at her website or follow her on Twitter.